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December 6, 2018

HBL in command as Abid, Agha make SNGPL bowlers toil


December 6, 2018

KARACHI: Abid Ali and Agha Salman developed a solid unbeaten partnership to put Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in a strong position against holders Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) on the second day of their five-day final of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy here at the UBL Sports Complex on Wednesday.

Abid (92*) and Agha (50*) shared 143 for the second wicket association to shepherd HBL to 170-1 in their first innings in 65 overs at stumps in response to SNGPL’s total of 304 which they scored thanks to skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s fighting 91.

HBL were six without loss at lunch in three overs on a pitch which on the second day too did not give any assistance to the bowlers.

After lunch, fast bowler Asad Ali provided a much-needed breakthrough to SNGPL when he trapped wicket-keeper batsman Jamal Anwar (19) leg before. Jamal smashed three fours in his 28-ball innings.

Agha joined in-form Abid and the duo kept their cool and played with immense concentration to consolidate their team’s innings. At tea, HBL were 80-1. After tea, both of them continued with their solid approach and paved way for taking a substantial lead in the game.

The 31-year-old Abid, who blasted two centuries against England Lions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently, while representing Pakistan A, completed his 32nd fifty off 115 balls in his 102nd first-class game. Lahore-born right-handed batsman smacked 12 fours in his 191-ball unfinished knock.

The 23-year-old Agha on the other hand completed his 14th first-class fifty off 166 balls. This is the 49th first-class game for the Lahore-born batsman who is also a useful spinner. Agha smashed six fours in his unbeaten 172-ball knock.

SNGPL bowlers including Asad Ali (1-17), Azizullah (0-27), Imran Khalid (0-46), Bilawal Bhatti (0-32), Iftikhar Ahmed (0-30) and Mohammad Imran (0-10) had to labour hard on a warm day.

Earlier, SNGPL resumed their first innings at the overnight score of 238-6 and were folded for 304 in 110.2 overs.Misbah-ul-Haq, who was batting on 72 on the first day on Tuesday, was the first to lose his wicket when he edged an outswinger from medium pacer Khurram Shehzad to keeper Jamal Anwar who took an easy catch behind the stumps to remove the former Pakistan captain.

The 44-year-old Misbah smacked 11 fours and one six in his clinical 184-ball knock. Misbah added 88 runs for the seventh wicket stand with Mohammad Imran (40) who was removed by left-arm Test spinner Abdul Rehman in the next over to reduce SNGPL to 274-8.Imran, who was batting on 23 on the opening day, struck four fours in his solid supporting 88-ball knock.

Rehman then had Azizullah (0) and Asad Ali (5) in quick succession to fold SNGPL. However, discarded international Bilawal Bhatti used long handle, scoring unbeaten 25 off 31 balls to enable his side to go past the 300-mark. Bilawal hammered five fours in his valuable knock. SNGPL scored runs at a run-rate of 2.75.

Rehman was the pick of the bowlers with 4-90 in 40.2 overs. Khurram Shehzad got 3-65 from 21 overs.Faisal Afridi and Mohammad Asif are supervising the match. Waleed Yaqoob is the television umpire and Shahid Butt is the match referee.

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